Optimization and design of a low-cost, village-scale, photovoltaic-powered, electrodialysis reversal desalination system for rural India

David W. Bian, Sterling M. Watson, Natasha C. Wright, Sahil R. Shah, Tonio Buonassisi, Devarajan Ramanujan, Ian M. Peters, Amos G. Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper presents the cost optimization of a photovoltaic-powered electrodialysis reversal (PV-EDR) system for village-scale applications in rural India based on current component costs and performance. A PV-EDR alternative was explored because it requires half the specific energy (and thus half the power system cost), and reduces water wastage from 60% to less than 10%, compared to small-scale reverse osmosis (RO) systems for groundwater salinity levels commonly found in India. Through co-optimization of the PV and EDR subsystems, the optimal system was predicted to cost $23,420 (42% less than a system designed using conventional engineering practice). A key to the cost reduction was flexible water production that accommodates daily changes in solar irradiance with overproduction on sunny days and water buffer storage tanks. A sensitivity analysis revealed that the capital cost of the total system is most sensitive to membrane area; reducing membrane cost by 87% would half the system capital cost. The optimization method presented here, as well as the cost saving strategies of time-variant operation and load matching with solar irradiance availability, provide design strategies that are relevant to other PV-EDR architectures and general off-grid desalination applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-278
Number of pages14
JournalDesalination
Volume452
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cost
  • Desalination
  • Electrodialysis
  • India
  • Optimization
  • Photovoltaic

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